» 12/06/2011, 00.00
Damascus accepts Arab observers, but on conditions
Assad has informed the Arab League of his assent to observers to monitor the situation in order to avoid a tightening of sanctions. However, he also places conditions, which the Arab countries will discuss. Today Hillary Clinton meets with opposition in Geneva.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Damascus government has announced that it will accept international observers provided by the Arab plan to solve the crisis in the country, but not unconditionally. The Arab League has threatened to impose new sanctions if the Assad regime does not accept the part of the plan which covers the monitoring of the situation, and has responded to Damascus saying it will study its requests.
The Arab League ultimatum to the Syrian government expired Sunday. Damascus initially rejected the idea of international monitoring, but sent a letter to the Arab League in the late Sunday evening, agreeing to let in observers in if its terms are accepted . "The Syrian government has responded positively to the signing of the Protocol, based on the understanding of Syrian cooperation," said Damascus Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi. The Secretary General of the Arab League in Cairo confirmed the existence of the letter, stating that it contained "new demands. We contacted the Arab Foreign Ministers and we informed them. " Consultations are underway.
The sanctions of the Arab League placed 19 senior Syrian officials on the "black list", preventing travel in Arab countries and freezing their accounts abroad, as well as requesting 50% cut in flights to and from Syria and other forms of embargoes. The European Union and the United States are already applying sanctions on Damascus. Meanwhile, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet seven Syrian opposition members in exile today in Geneva. A first meeting had occurred on August 2 last.
"Friends of Syria" arm rebels and sanction Assad
The opposition confirms receiving arms from Western countries. Saudi Arabia decides to arm the rebels and overthrow Assad. France, Great Britain, the United States are pushing for a resolution of the UN Security Council. Hamas sides with the opposition, for an "Islamic Syria". Damascus declares that the Tunis meeting supports "terrorism". Tomorrow the referendum for new constitution.
UN Council for Human Rights condemns Syria
The High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, suggests the possibility of accusing the regime in Damascus of "crimes against humanity and other international crimes." The Arab League calls for more UN observers.
Syrians disappointed by Arab League observers who find the situation in Homs reassuring
Observers do not find anything “frightening” in the city even though 30 people were killed there in the past three days. Human Rights Watch says prisoners are being moved to military bases off limits to Arab League monitors who travelled today to Deraa, Idleb, Hama and locations around Damascus.
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UN General Assembly condemns Syria
The non-binding resolution was supported by 137 in favour, 12 against and 17 abstentions. It does not criticize opposition violence. Ban Ki-moon calls on Assad to stop possible "crimes against humanity". Russian and Chinese envoys in Damascus; in Tunis, Western and Arab countries studying support maybe even military intervention. No attention paid to what Syrian people want.
The Arab League calls on Damascus to stop the killing of civilians
An "urgent message" of the Ministerial Committee. But the killings continue: Friday, there were 44 victims, according to opposition sources, who call for a no-fly zone. Talk of an armed anti-regime force: the claim is supported by reports of an attack on a few checkpoints, that killed 17 soldiers.
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“Hectic hours” before pope's arrival in Yangon, Catholics to help pilgrims
Some 200,000 people are expected at the solemn Mass at Kyaikkasan Grounds, including Buddhist and Muslim leaders. Some 6,000 kids will take part in the Mass for young people the next day. Filipinos, Australians and Thais are also expected for Pope Francis’ apostolic journey. From our correspondent.
The genocide of Yemen:First bombs, now hunger, thirst and cholera
The coalition led by Riyadh blocks the arrival of fuel needed to run the wells. Over a million people without water in Taiz, Saada, Hodeida, Sana'a and Al Bayda. According to UNICEF, 1.7 million children suffer from acute malnutrition”; 150,000 children are likely to die in the coming weeks. The silence and neglect of the international community. The threat of hitting crude-cargo ships. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia allowed the reopening of Sana'a airport and Hudayda port, but only for humanitarian aid. An insufficient measure.
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